Through the Eyes of a Child Forensic Interviewer

We work at First Witness Child Advocacy Center in Duluth, and would like to share some thoughts about that. We’re forensic interviewers; that means our job is to listen to kids. Children and families arrive at First Witness for a forensic interview after disclosing to an adult some form of abuse. That alleged abuse is reported to social services and law enforcement and an investigation is started when we do an interview with the child. We interview kids in a neutral, fact finding and child friendly way with dignity. Children lead the interviews, because they are the expert on their experience and we’re there to listen. Not all children disclose abuse in interviews, but for some it can be a difficult thing to talk about because of dynamics like secrecy, fear, shame, threats of harm, or just difficulty having the words to express what happened to them. We’re here to facilitate that process and help the team understand the child’s experiences and the dynamics surrounding them. The interviews we do at First Witness are really important, because they are one way we gather information to better understand how we will protect kids from further harm and get them what they need to heal.

The interviews we do are just the beginning of the process for many kids and families. First Witness provides advocacy services for kids and their non-offending care givers and family. These services are so important to the healing process for kids. Our staff also does prevention education in the schools, because we want to give kids the tools they need to keep themselves safe for the rest of their lives. In addition, we travel across Minnesota and the United States training others how to do what we do; we teach other professionals how to conduct forensic interviews.

The work we do at First Witness is an important part of creating a community where kids are safe, they can thrive, and have what they need to heal if something happens to them. Doing this work is important to us, in a very personal way.

To provide adequate resources for kids and families, we do bake sales, events, and send fundraising letters to community members. Right now, there’s an online fundraising campaign going on called Give to the Max. It’s a statewide campaign to fund various organizations, and we’re asking you to pitch in for First Witness Child Advocacy Center. Every dollar we receive will support kids and their families, and help them heal from the devastation of child abuse.

Give to the Max Day is November 17th, and you can schedule your donation today.

Your gift is a commitment to helping kids in our community, and we’re grateful for your support!

Fill out the information below to donate this year: